THURSDAY, SEPTEMBER 29, 2016

GAVI Alliance partners reaching more unvaccinated children than ever

The GAVI Alliance's public-private partnership is helping more children in the developing world than ever before to receive life-saving immunizations, GAVI said on Wednesday.

According to information presented during an accountability meeting in Stockholm on Wednesday, GAVI partners supported the immunization of 97 million children in 2011 and 2012, saving an estimated 1.1 million lives. When combined with a record number of vaccine introductions in 2013, GAVI is on pace to reach its goal of immunizing an additional quarter of a billion children between 2011 and 2015.

"Well-spent development aid can save and change lives," Hillevi Engström, the minister for international development cooperation in Sweden, said. "The GAVI Alliance is achieving impressive results and clearly demonstrating the cost-effectiveness of immunization as a tool for improving global health. It is important that the partners who have met in Stockholm today continue to work together to find ways of reaching the 22 million children who go unimmunized each year."

GAVI partners and country representatives met in Stockholm to review GAVI's progress since the start of its five-year plan in June 2011.

"Every child, no matter where he or she is born, has the right to a healthy life and vaccines are one of the best ways to ensure this," Ghanian President John Dramani Mahama, said. "GAVI deserves the support of all leaders desirous of building healthier communities."

Engström and Mahama hosted the meeting, which was attended by representatives from the World Health Organization, UNICEF, the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation, the World Bank, vaccine manufacturers and civil society organizations.

"The GAVI Alliance is having a positive impact on the lives of hundreds of millions of people, clearly demonstrating the overwhelming benefit of investing in immunization," Dagfinn Høybråten, the board chair of GAVI, said. "Our partners are living up to the ambitious commitments they made in 2011 to children living in the 73 poorest countries in the world."

During the event, Sweden and South Korea made new financial pledges to GAVI to support childhood immunization in developing countries. The contributions unlocked additional funds through the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation's Challenge Fund.